CINCINNATI (AP) — A Cincinnati City Council member — the third this year to be arrested on corruption allegations — insisted Friday that he is innocent.
Democrat P.G. Sittenfeld was arrested Thursday under an indictment alleging he solicited $40,000 in payments to his political action committee to “deliver the votes” in the City Council for a proposed downtown real estate development.
“I am innocent,” Sittenfeld tweeted Friday. “These allegations against me are simply not true.”
Mayor John Cranley, a fellow Democrat, had said Sittenfeld should resign from the council. Cranley said that Sittenfeld is entitled to “due process” but that he should step down and focus on his case.
Sittenfeld rejected that suggestion, saying on Twitter he will keep fighting the charges and for the city and its future “as your elected council member.”
Cincinnati will have elections in 2021, including for mayor because Cranley is term-limited. Sittenfeld had been considered a top contender to succeed him.
Sittenfeld ran unsuccessfully in the 2016 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
Sittenfeld faces six federal counts related to bribery and extortion. He pleaded not guilty Thursday before a federal magistrate and was released without bond but with restrictions, including on travel. He surrendered his passport.
Democrat Tamaya Dennard resigned from the council this year after her arrest. She is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to a wire fraud-related charge.
Republican Jeff Pastor was arrested Nov. 10 on bribery, extortion and money laundering charges. His attorney has said the council member will fight the charges.
Associated Press writer Farnoush Amiri in Columbus contributed to this report. Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Dan Sewell at https://twitter.com/dansewell.